In this post we share our experiences at three wineries that we visited within the past month. It includes one newbie, too!
Granite Heights Winery: Always a treat to visit Luke and Toni at Granite Heights. We enjoyed the crisp 2012 Chardonnay with its characteristics of pear and citrus with a flinty finish. Look out for the 2013 Petit Manseng that is a blend of 60% malolactic fermented wine and 40% non-malolactic fermented wine. Like Mae West, it is round, full-bodied and sensual. Rich tropical fruit notes with a creamy mouth feel should make this one a fine pairing with Thanksgiving dinner if turkey and gravy are on the menu. Of the red wines, the 2010 Cabernet Franc captured our attention with its smoky nose and notes of blackberry, leather and anise. It presented quite a lengthy finish to boot. Buy now and serve later—it is certainly age-worthy.
Magnolia Vineyards: And this is the newbie. This winery recently opened to the public, and we had a chance to visit here with our friends, Jill and Michael. Glenn and Tina Marchione operate this small winery that currently has four acres planted in vines. Doug Fabbioli serves as wine consultant; however, Tina Marchione is full time winemaker. We gave our nods to the 2012 vintages including the 2012 Black Walnut White made from Traminette grapes. We also enjoyed the 2012 Cabernet Franc Reserve with its notes of seed berries, dried herbs, and spice. It was blended with Cabernet Sauvignon (10%) and Merlot (5%). Grilled beef should pair well with this one. In fact, we enjoyed this one so much that we all shared a bottle after our tasting!
Morais Vineyards and Winery: It had been over a year since our last visit to Morais; needless to say, all wines that we tasted were new to our palates. Candace, our tasting associate, skillfully guided us through our tasting of wines. It was a rainy yet warm day, and our summer taste buds preferred the 2012 Battlefield Green, a white wine done in the Vinho Verde style. This is a blend of Albarino and Vidal Blanc grapes and presented notes of green apple, citrus, and freshly cut grass. Paul enjoyed the light-bodied 2013 Merlot with its bright cherry nose and elements of dried herbs and sweet tobacco. I found the cherry wine to be the most intriguing. This dessert wine was made with morello cherries; it was aged in stainless steel. In the tasting room, this tasty treat is served inside of a chocolate cup! Decadent indeed! I made certain to purchase a bottle to serve with a favorite chocolate dessert.
A few weeks ago we were in the Warrenton area visiting Gray Ghost to pick up some wine when we decided we would visit a few new wineries in the area. Granite Heights Orchard and Winery and Morais Vineyards and Winery are both relatively are new and it was time for us to pay them a visit. We are now up to 144 wineries visited!
Granite Heights – Luke and Toni Kilyk are hands on owners. They do everything on their land from the landscaping to the vineyard management. They have worked with Lucie Morton, who lived on the farm, to set up the vineyards and have worked with wine consultants over the years. They want to make high quality wine and let the wine speak for itself. On their tasting sheets they don’t mention what you should smell or taste. They want tasters to come to their own conclusions. And we did just that.
On the day we visited they had five wines for tasting. We enjoyed them all but a few did stand out as our favorites. Warren enjoyed the 2008 Evening Serenade. It’s a blend of 52% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot, and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. Warren noted raspberry, blueberry, and tobacco on the nose. He noted similar flavors in the mouth as well as cedar. While I enjoyed this one as well, I preferred the 2008 Lomax Reserve. It’s a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc. My notes included raspberry, plum, tobacco, some pepper, decent fruit, and caramel/toffee.
During our tasting we had a chance to talk with the owners and found out more about the winery, the farm, and their winemaking ideas. They also told us all about their jams and honey. Granite Heights is small winery producing high quality wines. We’re sure you’ll find something you enjoy.
Morais Vineyards – After our visit to Granite Heights we headed on down the road to visit Morais Vineyards. You can’t miss it. It’s a massive concrete structure inspired by buildings in Portugal. The owners are Portuguese. The building was constructed with events in mind. There are huge areas that would accommodate weddings and the like. They have a beautiful tasting bar with lots of space for groups for tastings.
The day we visited they had a full list of wines to taste…six to be exact. Currently they produce small quantities of their wines with hopes to expand in the future. They also have a relatively new wine maker who hopes to put his mark on the 2011 vintage. As with the previous winery, there were some wines that stood out at Morais for us. We both liked the Select White Wine. It’s made with the Rkatsitelli grape. We noticed citrus, grapefruit and an interesting spritz. We thought this one would make a nice sipper for a warm summer day. The Red Select also got our attention. It’s a blend of merlot and cabernet franc. We noted smoke, pepper, dried herb, and blackberry. It’s aged for two years in French oak barrels. We thought this one was a good food wine.
Both Granite Heights and Morais are new wineries. They have room to grow and high hopes for the future. We think we’ll be tasting wines from them both for years to come. If you haven’t visited either Granite Heights or Morais, plan a trip soon. And be sure to tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!